2020 Western Europe Industry Pulse Report

01/22 By Nick Morley

The findings of our 2020 Western Europe Industry Pulse Report highlight the key trends, technologies, and challenges media professionals across Western Europe expect to drive change in digital advertising this year. From mobile, data privacy, and contextual advertising, we find out what is set to top the digital advertising agenda in 2020.



Mobile set to dominate digital campaigns 

The report reveals mobile will be the dominant media force in 2020, cited by 87% of respondents as their number one priority for 2020. Closely followed by digital video at 86%, this shift highlights industry efforts to align with changing consumer habits and the growing appetite for on-the-go, short-form content

Study findings, however, show an awareness that increased spending could also trigger a rise in ad fraud. With two-fifths (40%) of media professionals considering mobile in-app display and video formats among the most vulnerable to fraudulent activity, effectively optimising mobile campaigns against malicious attacks will be equally important in the year ahead.



Overcoming digital media hurdles 

With data privacy named as the primary media challenge of 2020 by over two-fifths (44%) of respondents, it’s not surprising that an overwhelming majority of media professionals also foresee greater use of contextual advertising. More than eight in ten (82%) predict context-centric ads will be the biggest media trend of 2020. The industry must now adopt this shift from binary brand safety tactics, to the more nuanced and customisable approach that brand suitability offers. 

Similarly, concern around difficulties assessing campaign ROI is reflected in a determination to leverage tactics and solutions that directly address the need for precise insight into advertising performance: 61% of media professionals plan to implement campaign ROI evaluation tools, while 59% intend to apply viewability measurement.



Programmatic priorities are shifting

When it comes to programmatic technology, emphasis is moving from media quality assurance to advertising effectiveness. Over half (52%) of respondents cite targeting the right audience as their top programmatic advertising challenge, with inability to reach desired performance goals coming in second (45%). Previously a top concern for automated advertising, anxiety around viewability and brand safety has reduced with the report showing those factors are now listed as challenges by only one-third (34% and 32% respectively) of media professionals.



Social media retains an irresistible draw

Despite continued conversations around transparency, social media remains a vital element of digital campaigns. While just under three-quarters (73%) of media professionals feel platforms could provide greater clarity around brand risk levels and almost two-thirds (63%) want more openness into viewability measurement, this anxiety hasn’t reduced desire to invest in social media. In fact, concern has significantly fallen over the last year, with only 35% of UK-specific respondents stating that a lack of transparency will negatively affect 2020 social media spend, in contrast to 70% in the 2019 IAS Industry Pulse Report.



The on-going fraud evolution

Results point to positive progress in the fight against online ad fraud. In comparison to the average global fraud rate for desktop display (11.7%), more than half (55%) of respondents believe their ad campaigns experience lower levels of fraud exposure. Further analysis broken down in the full report, however, suggests this enthusiasm may be partly due to limited understanding. Although knowledge of common types of ad fraud such as bots, falsely represented sites, and malware is high, with over 70% of respondents claiming familiarity, the wider ad fraud toolkit is less well recognised. In the year ahead, addressing low familiarity with risks such as invalid proxy traffic (54%), hijacked ad tags (49%), and cookie stuffing (49%) will be essential. 



IAS surveyed 94 professionals in three core European markets — the UK, France, and Germany — to discover how industry professionals perceived transparency and innovation in 2019, and the resulting impact it will have on their budgets, and focus, in 2020. 

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